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T-Hank Launches U.S. Senate Bid

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But Allen probably isn't expecting Thomas H. "T-Hank" Cook.

Cook, 54, is a quality inspector at Cadmus Communications and somewhat of a local country musician. He says he was inspired to run as an independent write-in candidate by the irreverent country star and best-selling mystery author, Kinky Friedman, who's running for governor of Texas.

It has a shoestring budget so far, but the campaign has printed up "Cook for Senate" buttons with pictures of the candidate in a star-spangled rodeo shirt and a 10-gallon hat that could put Allen's ubiquitous cowboy boots to shame.

Cook also has a strong military presence on staff to counter Webb's glossy war credentials. He says his nephew, David Stephens, is a former Marine who's taken charge of public relations. They're publicizing in part on Cook's Web site, www.thankcook.com, which also advertises his services as a "licensed Minister of Marriage."

Another nephew, Scott Bland, is a member of the presidential honor guard (those uniformed officers who preside over government ceremonies), and when he's in town acts as Cook's bodyguard.

The most important plank in Cook's platform, he says, is to increase federal aid for the disabled. His girlfriend recently suffered a brain injury and his brother-in-law uses a wheelchair. Cook says the U.S. government is "helping people all over the world, and they can't get any help here."

Independent Glenda Gail Parker, of Alexandria, will appear with Allen and Webb on the ballot Nov. 7. S



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